Banks and thrifts throughout California have launched an unusually blunt round of advertising attacks against Wells Fargo & Co.

In the past month, at least a half-dozen major institutions, including Great Western Bank, American Savings Bank, City National Bank, and Citibank, have launched marketing campaigns - scheduled to run four or five months - that make direct appeals to customers who may be put off by Wells' April 1 merger with First Interstate Bancorp.

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